Erie County Prepares For Future Without Tonawanda Coke

Resolution Protects Workers and Residents

Matt Moran
September 06, 2018 - 6:23 pm

WBEN Photo/Matt Moran

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - In Thursday's Erie County Legislature Session a resolution was passed that protects residents and employees if Tonawanda Coke is shut down.

Submitted by Chair Peter Savage and Legislator Kevin Hardwick, the resolution anticipates the closing. Hardwick expects the federal court to take the proper action.

"What happens then, what about the health of the workers, what about the jobs of the workers, what about the health of the community," Hardwick said. "And what do we do with this plight upon on landscape."

RELATED: Tonawanda Coke in Court

Hardwick says it will put the responsibility on the company to clean up the mess they have made. Hardwick also wants to see any fines given out be used for retraining current workers for next employment and for health monitoring of current and former workers as well as local residents. 

The resolution passed. Legislator Patrick Burke says Western New York has its history of industry polluting the environment and the community as well as local officials standing up against it.

"We have to protect our airway, we have to protect our environment," Burke said. "It's the right thing to do."

Hardwick says he has heard from locals in the area for sometime about the issues Tonawanda Coke has caused.

"I remember speaking with residents that were downwind of the plant and they would point out the houses and go cancer, cancer, cancer, tumors," Hardwick said. "It was just sickening, they have had enough of Tonawanda Coke."

RELATED: Company Feels The Pressure

Though the county does not have the power to shut down the company, Hardwick says it is about preparing for a future without Tonawanda Coke.

"Because we still have problems, we still have health problems, we still have workers we have to relocate and we have site that is going to be another brownfield on the Tonawanda landscape," Hardwick said. "This changes the narrative a little bit."

Tonawanda Coke's next appearance in Federal Court is Monday, September 10.

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